If you want to be a screenwriter or filmmaker, you need to have your material seen.
Film Festivals can be expensive to enter and maybe you don’t have that kind of money to spare. Or maybe you don’t have high quality film or digital footage. Maybe you have great snips, clips, and funny moments, but not a full story. Maybe you have tried to enter film festivals, but none have accepted you. There are lots of reasons that film festivals might not be the best outlet for your films.
YouTube.com is one of the best creations that have come out of the Internet to promote any kind of business or share entertaining personal footage, and YouTube is especially exciting for filmmakers. It’s like one big Global Film Festival, welcoming to all. Never before have you been able to show your films to the entire world! That’s exciting.
Some young people may never remember a time without YouTube, when the world was a different place, so they don’t know how lucky they are.
The more opportunities the Internet gives us to access a global audience, the more competition there is to get that audience. Even though the outlet is easier to find, you might have to work harder or have better material to get a dedicated audience.
If you are going to build an audience for your material, you have to do some self-promoting; perhaps sending out emails to friends and family, creating a website with a blog that will draw keyword searches, making friendships with people online who are interested in what you have to offer, having social networking accounts, and so on.
We all have to draw our own boundaries and limits as to what we will and will not do to promote. I do not like being a part of social websites that bombard me with advertising or give out my private information, so I am picky about those.
Last month, I bought a cheap film editing program, so I have been going to town pulling out all my fun old footage and putting up small portions of it on YouTube. You can see all my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/jaden33sfh#p/u.
The most informative thing that has happened by putting up my short films on YouTube is that I have learned what people are interested in and what they can easily find, which is really helpful to me when deciding what films to produce and publicize.
For instance, I thought my film school short that features singer Jack Johnson would be a big hit because he is so well known, yet that video is getting very few hits. This was a big surprise to me. It could be because there is just too much footage of him on the Internet already and people who search for him don’t find my video. I don’t know.
Videos that are doing well of mine, oddly, are my Lightening clip, a video on Daguerreotypes, the Money Dog Mascot for the 100%, and my most popular video is Fight Night at the East Bay Rats Motorcycle Club in Oakland (includes a girl fight and band The Corruptors) featured above. These are all of course very short clips, only recently uploaded, so I don’t know which ones will withstand the test of time.
Some of the clips are part of my feature film documentary about Oakland Music and Art. I just wanted to practice editing and get a response from people to help me decide which direction to go. These videos were all quickly edited in a few hours and are not completed works and do not necessarily show the best footage.
The most important thing I have learned so far by using YouTube as a film testing ground is that when it comes to making movies, follow your heart! Don’t make something or put something out there because you think other people will like it and it will go viral. Put out screenplays and films to the world that resonate in your heart and soul, material that you really love, and don’t worry about what other people think. Whatever you really like, there is a good chance that others will like it too.
What old films are in your closet?